by Tony West
The 2014 Lexus IS is the new swagtastic sporty whip aiming to attract a youthful buyer with a need for speed. The more rigid, more spacious 3rd generation IS has impressive sport enhancements combined with a ton of options for optimal safety and luxury. Lexus calls this new design, “aggressive elegance.”
Two IS models go on sale this Summer, the IS 250 and the IS 350. The IS 250 has a 2.5 liter V6 engine with 204 horsepower and 185lb-ft of torque. And the thrilling IS 350 F-Sport boast a 3.5 liter V6 direct injected engine with 306 horsepower and 277lb-ft of torque. Both models are made for excitement on the road. Adapted from the popular GS is the multilink rear suspension with a revised front suspension. The IS 350 F-Sport has the sportier 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission. Both models have available all weather drive system and 3 drive modes: Eco; Normal; and Sport. Lexus optimizes efficiency and gives that option to the driver in a user friendly control.
The Lexus IS models have a plethora of options and packages. The F-Sport package is available with the IS 250 models and IS 350 RWD and AWD models. Perks to the F-Sport package include 18” wheels, customized interior, Adaptive Variable Suspension-which allows the adjustment between normal and Sport S or Sport+ suspension tuning, and paddle shifters with a G-Force Artificial Intelligence System.
Lexus does a great job creating an affordable luxury sports whip that’s versatile and cool looking. The 2014 Lexus IS cockpit is more driver-focused than previous models because the interior design is derived from the LFA super sports car. The driver has optimal comfort and control of all the accouterments. Accouterments that include dual-zone climate control, remote touch navigation, a 4.2” color display, and Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound System with 15 speakers. The interior has 44.8” of legroom in the front and 32.2” in the rear with 60:40 split-folding rear seats.
The IS also has the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System, which combines traction control, ABS, and stability control with electronic power steering for enhanced sport handling. The available Pre-Collision System includes Adaptive Cruise Control and new cool safety features like Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Auto Location Tire Pressure Warning System. Basically if the IS swerves, looses tire pressure, gets caught in a tunnel, or tries to change lanes there are a number of warning that will keep the driver in check.
One of the most beneficial feature of the Lexus IS models should be the fuel economy and the sticker price. The IS 250 has 21mpg city and 30mpg highway for a combined 24 mpg. The IS 350 has 19mpg city and 28mpg highway for a combined 22mpg fuel economy. Held up against the new CLA stunner, the 3-series BMW, and the Audi A5 I’m thinking the IS may be a strong competitor. The sticker price (with all the options) will be the deciding factor.